Section Information for Spring 2021
This class will consider the fate of the Roman Empire between the reigns of Diocletian (284-305) and Heraclius (610-641). These turbulent centuries saw Roman political, cultural, and religious life utterly transformed, and it is the purpose of this class to take stock of these changes in the face of often fragmentary and difficult evidence. Through a careful consideration of primary sources both literary and material we will examine a range of topics including: the machinery of political life, the identity and impact of the barbarians (so-called), the late Roman military and the problem of the frontiers, the spread of Christianity and the resilience of the old religions, the divergent fates of east and west, and persistence of Roman institutions long after the fall of Rome. In addition, we will ask what historians ancient, medieval, and modern have made of this fall, what really fell, and the degree to which the idea of a fall itself is a useful way of thinking about these later centuries of the Roman world.
HIST 388 DL1 is a distance education section taught asynchronously.
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